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A British man who travelled to Ukraine to fight the Russians has returned home after ten days on the ‘front line’ after it became ‘too high risk and too little reward’.  

Ethan Dennis, 21, said he formally served in the Royal Navy, and decided to travel east six days after Vladimir Putin‘s forces began their assault.

But after ten days in Ukraine, Dennis is now back home in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

‘It was when the objectives we were being given became too high risk and too little reward that I decided I’d had enough’, he said.

‘Luckily I had signed an open contract with the major so he had no problem with me returning home.’

Dennis said he flew to Rzeszów in southern Poland and then crossed the border into Ukraine with a group of Brits he met at the airport, which included Ben Spann, 36, who went to Ukraine because he ‘thought it was the right thing to do’ despite having no military experience or connections to the country. 

Spann has since returned to the UK to be with his wife and 16-year-old son after becoming worried he had joined a ‘suicide mission’.

Ethan Dennis, 21, has returned to the UK after spending ten days in Ukraine where he had joined the fight against Russian troops

Ethan Dennis, 21, has returned to the UK after spending ten days in Ukraine where he had joined the fight against Russian troops

Ethan Dennis, 21, has returned to the UK after spending ten days in Ukraine where he had joined the fight against Russian troops

Dennis (third from right, wearing a black cap) said he flew to Rzeszów in southern Poland and then crossed the border into Ukraine with a group of Brits he met at the airport, which included Ben Spann (back) , 36, who went to Ukraine because he 'thought it was the right thing to do' despite having no military experience or connections to the country

Dennis (third from right, wearing a black cap) said he flew to Rzeszów in southern Poland and then crossed the border into Ukraine with a group of Brits he met at the airport, which included Ben Spann (back) , 36, who went to Ukraine because he 'thought it was the right thing to do' despite having no military experience or connections to the country

Dennis (third from right, wearing a black cap) said he flew to Rzeszów in southern Poland and then crossed the border into Ukraine with a group of Brits he met at the airport, which included Ben Spann (back) , 36, who went to Ukraine because he ‘thought it was the right thing to do’ despite having no military experience or connections to the country

In his ten days in Ukraine, Dennis said he witnessed missile strikes, mortar bombs and intense combat with Russian forces and, although none of his British comrades were injured or killed, he claimed some of the Ukrainian soldiers were not so lucky. 

A former seaman, he said witnessing the ‘brutal conflict firsthand’ has made him hope a deal between Russia and Ukraine is reached ‘sooner rather than later – for everyone’s benefit’. 

He said, upon arrival in Ukraine, the soldiers were bundled into the back of a van and driven to Lviv where they collected their gear and were assigned to a safe house.

After three days in the house, the group were surrounded by a Ukrainian special forces team, who had been informed by a local of their position.

Dennis said: ‘At the safe house we were treated really well with comfy beds and good food.

‘But we believe a civilian informed the Ukrainian’s about our foreign uniforms which raised suspicion amongst the higher ranks.

‘The team burst through the door and told us to put our hands on our head whilst they checked our documents and verified our stories.

‘One of our squad even had a gun put to his head when he refused to follow one of their instructions.

‘They had their safety [mechanism] off and their fingers on the triggers – it was an intense moment for us.

‘Once they realised we were there to help they left us alone.’

Unsatisfied with the lack of action they were seeing in Lviv, Dennis said he and his comrades decided to change squadrons and take the train to Kyiv.

They travelled to the capital, and, on their journey, helped police detain a suspicious man, who Dennis said was found to be making frequent calls to Russia.

The suspected spy was arrested and taken to a detention centre for further questioning, Dennis said.

Dennis, a former seaman, said witnessing the 'brutal conflict firsthand' has made him hope a deal between Russia and Ukraine is reached 'sooner rather than later - for everyone's benefit'

Dennis, a former seaman, said witnessing the 'brutal conflict firsthand' has made him hope a deal between Russia and Ukraine is reached 'sooner rather than later - for everyone's benefit'

Dennis, a former seaman, said witnessing the ‘brutal conflict firsthand’ has made him hope a deal between Russia and Ukraine is reached ‘sooner rather than later – for everyone’s benefit’

When they arrived in Kiev, he said dozens of families sleeping in the tube station stood up to applaud them.

The squad were then driven to an undisclosed location where they were briefed by an ex-major on how to conduct covert operations on the front line just outside the city.

‘It was a surreal feeling getting off the train and having all these strangers start clapping you,’ Dennis said.

‘It felt nice to be appreciated by these people who right now have so little to be enthusiastic about.

‘When we arrived at the briefing room with a different unit in Kiev we were handed better kit and proper military ID’s.

‘It was a much more organised outfit than the unit we were with before, and within a day we could see why.

‘We were thrown right into the action and sent to guard a position just outside Kiev which was a key asset in the Ukrainian war effort.’ 

Counter-attacks are now taking place to the west of Kyiv, around Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south, and towards Izyum in the east as the Pentagon says Ukrainian generals are 'able and willing to re-take territory'

Counter-attacks are now taking place to the west of Kyiv, around Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south, and towards Izyum in the east as the Pentagon says Ukrainian generals are 'able and willing to re-take territory'

Counter-attacks are now taking place to the west of Kyiv, around Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south, and towards Izyum in the east as the Pentagon says Ukrainian generals are ‘able and willing to re-take territory’

Russian troops have been trying to surround Kyiv for weeks, but are now facing Ukrainian counter-attacks after their offensive ran out of steam - with the city of Makariv falling back into Ukrainian hands

Russian troops have been trying to surround Kyiv for weeks, but are now facing Ukrainian counter-attacks after their offensive ran out of steam - with the city of Makariv falling back into Ukrainian hands

Russian troops have been trying to surround Kyiv for weeks, but are now facing Ukrainian counter-attacks after their offensive ran out of steam – with the city of Makariv falling back into Ukrainian hands

Dennis, who said he served in the military for four years as an engineer, added: ‘Sometimes the Russians were so scared in contact they weren’t even able to get rounds away.

‘There was an obvious lack of training amongst them and a lack of motivation to be there – which we used to our advantage.

‘The fighting was intense and very scary at points, but I just remembered all my training and tried to take calculated risks.’ 

After deciding he had ‘had enough’, Dennis boarded a refugee train out of the capital and back to Lviv.

There he stayed the night in a Red Cross tent, and was awoken by the sound of shelling in the city.

After a long walk to the border, he eventually made it back over to Polish soil, but his journey was interrupted when Ukrainian secret police stopped him from crossing.

He said he was detained by immigration officials who were not convinced by his passport or why he was in Ukraine.

In his ten days in Ukraine, Dennis said he witnessed missile strikes, mortar bombs and intense combat with Russian forces and, although none of his British comrades were injured or killed, he claimed some of the Ukrainian soldiers were not so lucky

In his ten days in Ukraine, Dennis said he witnessed missile strikes, mortar bombs and intense combat with Russian forces and, although none of his British comrades were injured or killed, he claimed some of the Ukrainian soldiers were not so lucky

In his ten days in Ukraine, Dennis said he witnessed missile strikes, mortar bombs and intense combat with Russian forces and, although none of his British comrades were injured or killed, he claimed some of the Ukrainian soldiers were not so lucky

He was eventually freed but claims he was closely followed throughout the rest of his time in Poland before flying back to London on March 19.

Dennis, who was working as a carpenter before he flew out, said: ‘Getting home was really stressful.

‘There’s always that doubt in your mind something may go wrong and you could be stuck.

‘The train ride to Lviv was the worst journey of my life. 

‘The relief I felt when the plane left that runway is indescribable.

‘My girlfriend was overjoyed to see me, and I’ve been told if I want to go and fight again she won’t be there when I get back – so that’s my decision made.’

Here’s how YOU can help: Donate here to the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal

Readers of Mail Newspapers and MailOnline have always shown immense generosity at times of crisis.

Calling upon that human spirit, we are supporting a huge push to raise money for refugees from Ukraine.

For, surely, no one can fail to be moved by the heartbreaking images and stories of families – mostly women, children, the infirm and elderly – fleeing from the bombs and guns.

As this tally of misery increases over the coming days and months, these innocent victims of this conflict will require accommodation, schools and medical support.

Donations to the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal will be used to help charities and aid organisations providing such essential services.

In the name of charity and compassion, we urge all our readers to give swiftly and generously.

TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE 

Donate at www.mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate 

To add Gift Aid to a donation – even one already made – complete an online form found here: mymail.co.uk/ukraine

Via bank transfer, please use these details:

Account name: Mail Force Charity

Account number: 48867365

Sort code: 60-00-01

TO MAKE A DONATION VIA CHEQUE

Make your cheque payable to ‘Mail Force’ and post it to: Mail Newspapers Ukraine Appeal, GFM, 42 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8JY

TO MAKE A DONATION IN THE US

You can donate via CAF America at: https://donations.cafamerica.org/mail-force/

Or

US readers can send checks to dailymail.com HQ at 51 Astor Place (9th floor), New York, NY 10003 

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Source: Daily Mail

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